Gates Foundation to support HIV-herpes study
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last week announced a $30 million grant to help fund a study to determine whether the successful treatment of genital herpes can help reduce HIV transmission. The grant to the University of Washington School of Medicine will help finance research at 10 sites in Africa, India, and Latin America. The study will seek to determine whether the generic drug acyclovir, widely used to treat genital herpes, can reduce HIV transmission rates. At least half of the HIV-positive people worldwide are also infected with herpes simplex virus type 2, also known as genital herpes. The open sores associated with herpes infection appear to make it easier to be infected with HIV, putting people infected with genital herpes at about twice the risk of those who do not have herpes of HIV infection. The one-year study is set to begin in early 2004.